How to Set Up an LLC as a Freelancer

How to Set Up an LLC as a Freelancer

Why Every Freelancer Should Consider Forming An Llc

You cannot build business credit, because you don’t have an actual legal entity for your business. You cannot separate your business and personal finances in case of a lawsuit, because you have no corporate shield.

As the owner of a limited liability company, you may get several federal, state, or local tax advantages. During tax season, you might get more deductions for your businesses, which can actually prove more advantageous in the long run. When you open a sole proprietorship, it means that you are opening a business that is not a separate entity from your own person. This is a very common business structure in the United States for those who are only starting out. If you are a single-member LLC, which is the closest resemblance of a sole proprietorship, your profits and losses are part of your individual tax return. Unlike a sole proprietorship, an LLC allows you to have multiple members who share the business assets.

  • It’s an ideal choice for businesses with different purposes, assets or members.
  • Set up a meeting with a CPA to discuss your new business and how it should managed through the year and treated when tax time arrives.
  • If you’re someone who spends most of your time outside of the country, unfortunately, for U.S. citizens, you’re taxed on your global income.
  • Like LLC owners, the owners of a corporation aren’t personally liable for business obligations.
  • Many banks require people to set up an entirely new account for their freelance LLC.
  • For example, LLCs in California have to pay a whopping $800!

First, you need to fill out a form with basic information about you and your business that will be sent to the secretary of state in the state in which you plan to incorporate and pay a fee. Unlike with a corporation, you aren’t required to have a board of directors or shareholders with an LLC. You have more options in setting up your management structure. As a final note, you may also want to consider turning your freelance operation into an LLC specifically in light of COVID-19 and its effects on the economy. In our ‘Freelancer’s Guide to Managing Job Uncertainty During the Coronavirus’ we mentioned the idea of keeping an eye out for relief funds.

Let’s start by looking at what an LLC is… and what it definitely is not. ● You can customize how the LLC is run in an operating agreement.


If you fail to do so, you’ll end up in hot water with the IRS. Single-member LLCs are legal business structures that offer liability protection, branding, credibility, and privacy that a sole proprietorship doesn’t.

You’re also more likely to gain access to loans simply due to the credibility that comes along with the letters “LLC” after your name. This sends a signal to banks that you’re registered with the state, and are therefore more likely to pay back a loan. In general, approval for loans depends on your revenue, how long you’ve been in business, your collateral and your credit score. For just a bit of context, the concept of an LLC is relatively new in the history of American business. In the past, companies were either general partnerships or corporations, and the main difference dealt with how ownership and responsibility was divided.

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Unlike a sole proprietorship, and LLC is an official company with a formal business name and number. And this makes some freelancers feel more professional, credible and respected within the business world. One way to incorporate as a freelancer is a sole proprietorship, which is a one-person company. This means you are in the driver’s seat, controlling your salary and reporting all earnings and losses on your tax return. It’s a tough question — and one that is often fraught with misunderstanding. The fact is, 70% of businesses in the United States are registered as sole proprietorships, which suggests that few freelancers see much benefit to incorporating. Formalizing the business – Part of forming an LLC means taking the time to plan the future for your business in a way that’s more structured and formal than you might have otherwise done on your own.

The business’s net income is then subject to income taxes (based on the owner’s tax bracket) and self-employment taxes. An LLC will also protect your personal assets in the event of commercial bankruptcy or loan default.

Great Reasons to Hire Freelance Writers

Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. At Keeper Tax, we’re on a mission to help freelancers overcome the complexity of their taxes.

Why Every Freelancer Should Consider Forming An Llc

However, being a sole proprietor might not be the best fit for your overall business needs and financial goals. For example, as a sole proprietor, you cannot get a business bank account; any income earned will have to go into your personal bank account.

Do Freelancers Need to Register as a Business Entity?

Tools, resources and guides to officially form your company. Freelancers are used to the DIY approach, but you may want to seek out professional assistance when you start an LLC. Expert advice and resources for today’s accounting professionals. LLCs offer many of the same benefits at a much lower cost.

Most small businesses will benefit most from forming an LLC versus other business structure types. This is because LLCs are inexpensive, simple to form and run, and LLCs can protect a business owner’s personal assets from lawsuits and creditors. Another reason why sole proprietor taxation is popular is because you aren’t considered an employee of your LLC. This means that your LLC doesn’t have to cover payroll taxes on your income, or withhold income tax or Social Security or Medicare tax from your LLC’s profits. But you do have to pay income taxes and self-employment taxes on your LLC’s net income.

Contracts with Clients

Both are subject to state-mandated requirements, like filing annual reports and paying the required fees. Both are generally pass-through tax entities, but S-Corps must file a business tax return. An LLC must only file a business tax return if there is more than one owner. Nobody can say with certainty if an LLC is the best choice for your freelance business — before taking any actions, first consult a financial or tax expert. And whatever you do, don’t let the perceived complexity or unknowns surrounding an LLC make the decision for you.

When you form an LLC, you are no longer considered an “owner” of the business but a “member.” Don’t worry, it’s really just a legal distinction, albeit an important one, as you are still in charge. And don’t worry about being the “only member”; it only takes one member to form an LLC. Even if you are technically a legal business, it will be exactly like you are paying self-employment taxes, without adding a company into the mix. LLCs take the best out of sole proprietorships and corporations, allowing you to be taxed in the way that fits your business the most. This also means that all of your profits and losses go straight into your personal tax return, and not the corporation’s. With big business structures such as a corporation, taxes are filed through the business, which is not always advantageous. However, with a sole proprietorship, you get pass-through taxation.

Again, this clause should be written in a way that benefits both parties. On the one hand, it helps you to plan a project that fits your schedule, while on the other hand, it can also help motivate you. The client, of course, benefits from the inclusion of a deadline clause as well. Try to negotiate a client with the deadline clause and find a central location that suits both of you. Independent workers often underestimate the value of insurance, even when working from home. You may think that home insurance is enough to cover any damage done to the home office during office hours, and you will see later, it is not. Home insurance may also not cover the cost of broken or stolen office furniture or furniture.

Why Every Freelancer Should Consider Forming An Llc

The views presented in this guest post are the sole views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Braintrust. What this means for you is you’re taxed strictly on profits from your company and don’t have to pay self-employment tax. This alone likely would appeal to any freelancer who wants to avoid the high self-employment rate.

This includes decisions like how profits are divided, what happens when a member leaves , and more. As you decide whether you should incorporate as an LLC, here’s a quick list of the pros and cons. “An LLC ensures that the owner of a company are not personally liable for their company’s debts or liabilities.”

  • An Employer Identification Number is a number that is used by the US Internal Revenue Service to identify and tax businesses.
  • LLC is one of the ways that you could legally organize and operate your business.
  • It also gives you the flexibility to split project revenue between your team internally, instead of relying on the client to distribute payment.
  • With no legal protections or separate business finances, your home and car would be on the line if your business is sued, or if its creditors come knocking.

It is a disregarded entity that works like a corporation but has the advantages of a sole proprietorship. You have the tax advantages of a self-employed person, but you get limited liability protection (i.e., your personal assets are not at risk). You don’t need to form an LLC to work as a freelancer, but keep in mind that operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership means you’re personally liable should anything happen. An LLC can prevent this by separating your personal assets from your business assets.

Although this may seem like an inconvenience, it will actually help protect you should a claim be made against your business. Your new bank accounts should be set up in your LLC’s name and with your new EIN. To prevent frustration, check in with your new bank prior to going in to make sure you have all the required information on hand. Although easy, knowing how to set up an LLC as a freelancer isn’t something you would know how to do offhand. And it’s important you know what’s ahead, since there’s more to it than simply filling a form and paying a setup fee.

LLCs Are Simple to Setup and Inexpensive to Maintain

The best way to handle all of this is to talk to an accountant about your plans. In addition to freelancers’ contracts, your company must also be prepared for freelancer terms and conditions. Freelancer or freelance worker, are terms often used by a self-employed person who is not committed to a particular employer for a long time. Independent employees are sometimes represented by a company or temporary agency that sells private work to clients; others work independently or use professional organizations or websites to get a job. Do some research on business structures, make a decision, then get back to the grind. ZenBusiness makes it easy to start, run, and grow your dream business. Along with their formation plans, ZenBusiness offers tools, guidance, and expertise to help you be the best boss you’ve ever had.

Freelancers Guide to LLCs – What You Need to Know

Building business credit is essential if you want to eventually avoid having to submit your personal credit history or put up personal guarantees for business loans Why Every Freelancer Should Consider Forming An Llc or similar applications. If you pay yourself a salary through your S corp, you’ll have to withhold income and pay payroll taxes on a monthly or quarterly basis.

However, as your business starts to grow, you’ll have some important decisions to make. This includes deciding whether you’ll put the effort into forming a limited liability corporation or if it’s best to operate as a sole proprietor. A single-member LLC is a type of limited liability company, which is different from a sole proprietorship. Unlike sole proprietorships, a single-member LLC is formed by filing organization documents with your state government office. An LLC will give you personal liability protection against potential business risks as well as give your freelance writing business more tax options and credibility. It is relatively inexpensive and simple to form and maintain an LLC. Truth be told, not really, especially when it comes to single member LLCs.

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